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Topic: Rejection (11/15/04)
TITLE: The Jesus Prom
By Kristin Slavik
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The van stopped to let out its passengers. When her eyes met the first guest her fears melted. He tentatively got out of the van. His tuxedo was wrinkled but he was grinning from ear to ear. He clutched a picture tightly to his chest. She stepped up to direct him to the next step in the process. “Hi, I am Catherine. What’s your name?”
His grin widened, though she did not know how. “My n-name is John. Are you my d-date?”
“I am glad to meet you John. I will take you to meet your date in just a moment. First we need to take you to get ready for your pictures. What is that you are holding?”
“This is D-Debbie, my date from l-last year. I want to find h-her.”
He showed her the picture crumpled up in his hand. It looked as though he had carried it around all year. “That is beautiful John! Let’s get you over to our hairdresser, she will have you ready for your pictures in no time.”
John was taken to several stations to be pampered before he met his escort and had his picture taken for this year’s event. At one of them Catherine quietly asked about the brand new tuxedo that looked so wrinkled. The other volunteer smiled. “All of the formal wear is donated. The guests get so excited to come that many of them put it on the night before and sleep in their tuxes.”
Catherine continued to lead John until he reached the line of escorts. This is where I drop you off,” she said. “I hope you have a wonderful night.”
She watched for a moment as John shyly met his date for the night and they moved on to the dinner area. There was something so magical about this night, she thought.
The rest of the night seemed to fly by. The guests came by the hundreds. They were served a fancy dinner and there were plenty of escorts to go around for everyone. They danced and they smiled. Catherine knew she had never seen so many genuine smiles in all her life. All of them had different kinds of disabilities. Most of them were unable to go to their own proms because they had been rejected by society. This was their night. A night to feel important, a night where there would be no rejection.
She saw John again on his way home that evening. He clutched a new picture in his hand and she knew he would keep that one all year too. “Goodbye, C-Catherine! See you next year!” The words were rushed and not eloquent. He drooled as he spoke and his arms made jerky motions. But Catherine knew that all of these people were among the most amazing people she had ever met. She understood now that she did not have to fear being around people with disabilities. The Jesus prom had taught her an important lesson about life and those whom we choose to reject. She waved goodbye to John and knew in her heart that she would be back next year and hopefully for many more to come. She reminded herself to thank her roommate for making her come to witness such an amazing evening.